Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, a world-renowned Alzheimer's researcher and leader in clinical trials, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Melvin R. Goodes Prize for Excellence in Alzheimer's Drug Discovery. The prize, awarded by the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), recognizes leading researchers developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
The Melvin R. Goodes Prize includes a $150,000 award and will support Dr. Cummings' research into rasagiline, an FDA-approved Parkinson's drug that has been shown to improve cognition and holds promise for slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Cummings is a neurologist and clinical trialist involved in the development of new therapies for Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. He is Research Professor of the Department of Brain Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Director of the Center for Neurodegeneration and Translational Neuroscience at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Dr. Cummings is Professor of Medicine (Neurology) in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He is also the Founding Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the Mary Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at UCLA, and the Deane F. Johnson Center for Neurotherapeutics at UCLA.
Previous research has shown that rasagiline could be a viable therapeutic option for people with Alzheimer's disease. "Rasagiline has neuroprotective properties, offering a novel approach to Alzheimer's drug therapy," said Dr. Howard Fillit, founding executive director and chief science officer of the ADDF.
Drs. Fillit and Cummings share an interest in repurposing drugs, which is application of an already approved drug to treat another disease/medical condition, as a means of accelerating treatments for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Cummings recently completed an
ADDF-funded repurposing trial of rasagiline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, which showed positive results.
In the phase two, double-blind placebo controlled study, rasagiline met its primary target and increased metabolism in the frontal regions of the brain compared to placebo. Additionally, consistent trends toward improvement in cognitive, functional and quality of life measurements were observed in patients on active treatment. These findings indicate that significant changes can be anticipated in larger studies, and final analyses of other biomarkers, supported by the Goodes Prize, will support advancing rasagiline into a larger trial that will confirm its effects on cognition.
"I am honored to receive this recognition and support from the ADDF and generous philanthropists like Mel and Nancy Goodes, whose determination to find new treatment options for Alzheimer's and related dementias is pushing innovative ideas forward and bringing hope to patients," said Dr. Cummings. "In a time when drug development is moving beyond amyloid, our initial findings with rasagiline are promising and I look forward to further investigation made possible by the Goodes Prize."
ABOUT THE GOODES PRIZE
The Melvin R. Goodes Prize is named in honor of the courage, legacy and research advocacy of Mr. Goodes, former Warner-Lambert CEO and Chairman and honorary member of the ADDF's Board of Governors. It was created thanks to the generosity of Mr. Goodes and his wife, Nancy, who is also on the ADDF's Board. The Goodes Family Foundation committed $750,000 to fund the Goodes Prizes for 10 years, and the ADDF matched that contribution. Each year, the Goodes Prizes is awarded to a professionally active researcher in academia or industry who has pursued novel research and made a significant and lasting impact in Alzheimer's drug discovery. A Selection Committee that includes leaders in the field nominates candidates for consideration and chooses a winner based on past achievements and proposed future research.
2018: Michela Gallagher, PhD
2017: Roberta Diaz Brinton, PhD
2016: Daniel Martin Watterson, PhD
2015: Frank M. Longo, MD, PhD
ABOUT MELVIN R. GOODES
Melvin R. Goodes joined Warner-Lambert Canada as manager of new product development in 1965 and quickly rose through the ranks to become CEO and Chairman Worldwide in 1991. Under his leadership, Warner-Lambert became a major player in the prescription drug industry, bringing Lipitor to market in 1996. Lipitor, a highly effective statin, was the world's best-selling drug, with more than $135 billion in sales. Early in his tenure as CEO, he spearheaded the development of Cognex, the first drug approved by the FDA for Alzheimer's disease. In 2010, Mr. Goodes made headlines with a landmark speech revealing his early-stage Alzheimer's disease and pledging to apply all his efforts to speed up the search for new therapies. Since this speech, he and his wife Nancy have become strong ambassadors for the ADDF, inspiring hope among Alzheimer's patients, caregivers, physicians, and researchers.